Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sisters in Christ: In the storms of life


This morning our pastor began a new series, for the month of April, entitled "Shipwrecked: What do you do when life's toughest storms threaten to destroy you?" Did I not just mention a few weeks back that all of our pastors messages seem to apply to where we are in our lives? His message came from Acts 27:1-8. If anyone in the Bible knows the storms of life it was the Apostle Paul. He did not just have a storm for the day, he endured storm after storm for 2 years. Anybody feel like this????

There have been times in our 17 1/2 years of marriage that we, too, have felt as though the storms of life never seemed to end, they just came one after another! Whether the storm came in the way of Trayc's numerous job losses due to company layoffs, lack of finances, debt, years of infertility, marital troubles, shattered long-term friendships, vehicle problems, etc. they just seem to have come our way. But the Lord never says there won't be storms does He? What He does promise is that He will carry us every step of the way. The last 6 years have been different though. I guess you could say we feel like we have been on a new course with few storms - Trayc has had a secure job working side-by-side with his brother for 12 years, no more debt, no marital troubles, a new home, new friendships, pregnant with Tayden and Tristan without invitro and hopefully a new truck in the next few months.

But doesn't it seem like just when life is good that the storms of life hit again? It did for us. This time the storm came in the form of a Trisomy 18 diagnosis of our precious little boy, Tristan. We were certainly not expecting that kind of storm, especially one that we did not self-inflict like many of our other storms. This was, by far, the hardest storm we've ever endured. How do you go through a pregnancy knowing you won't have much time with your baby? How to you go on feeling like all of your hopes and dreams for your precious little boy have been shattered? How can you be excited about your big belly? How do you get excited about buying maternity clothes? How do you not buy baby clothes and diapers? How do you not prepare a nursery? How do you plan for the birth and funeral all in the same week? Only by the grace of God, let me assure you. I would NEVER have believed we could face the storm that was before us in August. And yet we did, we made it through. We faced each day from August 15th until December 3rd not knowing what lied ahead. The Lord richly blessed our family with so much more than we ever prayed for - not 1 day but 56 days, what more could we have asked for? Our God is so good. Are we completely through this storm? No, we are not, it's only been 2 months since our little boy left our arms but the Lord has given us an incredible amount of strength and a peace that only He can provide. We are taking it one day at a time.

Our pastor also spoke about the Lord sending friends to Paul during the storms of his life to surround him, to encourage him, to love him and support him. He said as a church that is what we are to be, brothers and sisters in Christ that surround our fellow believers in the time of a storm. Okay, at this point in the message I could have stood up and given a testimony!!!!! Let me tell you, the Lord has certainly done this for us while on this T-18 journey. There have been so many "Sisters in Christ" that have come along side us, who have encouraged us, who have loved us and supported us. It has made for such a sweet journey during the hardest storm of our lives. You know who you are:

You are my 1st three "Internet" friends (Angie, Kenzie and Kim).............who traveled our pregnancy's together, that laughed with me, cried with me, personally email me day after day, leave comments on our blog, stood by us for 56 days, posted entries on your blog on our behalf, lifted me up during our loss in the midst of your own loss, grieved with me, who are learning to live this new kind of normal, who are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has for all of our lives and are who are continuing to be my sweet, precious Christian friends - I love you all!!!!

You are my newest "Internet" friends (Emily, Chrissy, Kristy, Connie and Cathy)......................who traveled the 56 days with us, who gave us lots of medical advice while Tristan was with us, that laughed with me, cried with me, personally email me, leave comments on our blog, posted entries on your blog on our behalf, who lifted me up during our loss and are who are continuing to be my sweet friends - I love each one of you too!!!!

You are the high-risk nurse......................who saw me devastated and crying on August 15th (right after we found out about the T-18 diagnosis) standing at the check-out desk that came up and wrapped your arms around me and told me it was going to be okay and that you'd walk this road with us

You are the doctor's office nurses
.......................who cried with me, calmed my hurting heart every visit from August to December, who were excited every week we'd call and say that Tristan had made it another week and now the ones who make sure I don't have to wait in a waiting room filled with new mommies/babies

You are the sonogram technician...............who performed our sonogram every 2 weeks and encouraged us regardless of Tristan's diagnosis and growth

You are the hospital nurses................................who rejoiced at Tristan's birth, that prayed with him every day, that cried with me every day, that prayed with me every day and that attended Tristan's 1 month birthday party in Room 336

You are Internet bloggers........................... who have linked Tristan's blog to your own

You are Internet friends...........who have prayed for us, emailed us, celebrated with us, been sad with us, linked us to your blog and who donated to our church on Tristan's behalf

You are the faithful blog commenter's.....................who daily leave words of support and encouragement

You are our new neighbors.......................who followed our story, who loved us, who rejoiced when we pulled up in the driveway on December 7th with our little boy

You are in our Sunday School class.......................who prepared meals for 4 weeks, who donated to the collection of meal gift cards, who hug us each week and say that you're glad we're back and that you're praying for us

You are the friends from my past...........who have reached out and contacted us again through emails and cards

You are the new church friends.......................who have reached out to us after hearing our testimony at church on November 4th, who brought meals, who emailed, who visited and who sent cards

You are church members (we do not personally know)........ who stop us and say "we're praying for you" or "we're glad your back"

You are my parent's friends'............................who put us on your class prayer list, who have sent emails, who have sent cards, who have sent flowers, who have provided meals and who made donations to our church on Tristan's behalf

You are every person we have come in contact with personally or via the Internet .............................who has loved, encouraged or supported us

Thank you to every person who has taken the time to love us while on this journey! We ask that you continue to remember our family in prayer as this journey is not over. Like I mentioned above, it was only 2 months ago that we lost our little boy so although we are doing better than we were on January 27th, we still need your prayers, your love, your support and your encouragement as we continue to move forward. We shared back in February, that the Lord had laid it on our hearts to start a foundation in honor of our little boy therefore we have been diligently working on that over the last 2 months. It is a lengthy process between the legal paperwork, the building of our website, making contacts for supporters in the community but we know it will be worth it if we can encourage just one girl that will eventually be walking this same road. I know what it meant for me to have Angie reach out and walk this road with me and then to meet Kenzie and Kim shortly thereafter so in return I want to be that same kind of friend to other girls. We are hoping to have it ready by July 1st so please be praying for this process. The Lord has also laid some other desires on our hearts and we look forward to sharing those with you in the near future.

Acts 27:1-8 says: "And when it was determined that we should sail unto Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Aramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yvette, thank you for sharing these words of encouragement. I have only followed your journey for the last three months, but I have been encouraged by your faith. Our family finds itself in the midst of the strongest storm we have ever faced, and although much different from yours, our God is still the same. The victory over sin and sorrow has already been won at Calvary. We must just learn to claim it until we experience it fully in Heaven, where we'll all meet our wonderful Savior and your precious Tristan. Thank you for being a BLESSING!!!
Amy in Pensacola

Angie Luce said...

Yvette,

I'm so glad God brought us together when He did and gave us the opportunity to walk this together and not alone. He really did provide for all of us, and I love the specific ways you listed everything down. Somehow it's easy to forget, but so good to be reminded!

Love,

Angie

Laurie said...

Yvette,

I love the way the Lord drew his "Sisters in Christ" together with one very special little boy named Tristan. Your post is so encouraging today, a preview of your foundation's mission to come. I have learned so much through all of you girls over these months and I am so honored to have prayed for all of you. I am praying for your foundation to be a complete blessing to the mothers who have yet to walk this road. I wish there was no need for the foundation, but I know there is a huge need. Bless your heart for using your experience for good in the midst of your own pain. God will bless all of this, especially the future moms who will be facing the decision to go forward or to terminate. I pray they all choose life for their babies and experience the miracle of life, Gods way. You have my support always.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Kori said...

Yvette I just came across your blog today. I have sat here I know for the past hour or so just reading all about your beautiful family. God Bless your courage and your amazing faith. I am originally from Jacksonville Florida myself. Go Jags! My Dad still lives there and we come to visit quite often. And I noticed you go to First Baptist our Pastor Jason Dunlap has done some preaching there before. he is from Sharon Heights Baptist Church in Brookside Alabama. Small world after all I suppose. Please keep in touch.

asplashofsunshine said...

If you only knew the impact that a tiny little baby boy named Tristan could have on my heart, you'd be amazed. I am blessed to have two children who are healthy today, although we never know what tomorrow will bring. Your family has brought sunshine to my life when I never knew I needed it. Who would have thought the silly word "blog" could bring such happiness around the world. Thank you for all you do and most importantly, for continuing to share your journey.

boltefamily said...

Thank you for sharing this post Yvette. I know for us we feel like we have so many people to thank an yet words seem so inadequate. You did a beautiful job of conveying your feelings. Thank YOU for sharing your journey with me so openly, Tristan has certainly touched my life and you have made me feel less alone. For that I am also very grateful! Your family is such a blessing. We will continue to pray for you as you contiue on this journey!

Much Love,

Kristy

amie said...

Wow! What sweet words and! God's grace is all over you. You are using your life to glorify HIM! Your life is a living testimony of God's grace and proof that HE is our strength. I have yet to meet you but love you!
Love,
Amie

KrazyMom said...

Yvette,
I was so pleased to receive the personal thank you note from your family this week. I just can't even imagine how many must have donated to sweet little Tristan's cause and the fact you took time to handwrite notes just goes to show how very loving you are!

You are such a beautiful family. Please know that even if I am not the best about commenting regularily, you are always on my heart and in our prayers!

Shelby said...

I'm just another blogger who came across your blog. I just wanted to say I understand your pain as I have lost a baby too. He was 4 months old and died of SIDS.

I also have a best friend that had a Trisomy 18 baby. Her little girl went to be with the Lord within 2 months of her birth. They didn't know she had Trisomy until she was born...even though she had all the tests and ultrasounds.

We are 2 more sisters in Christ that truly know your pain and know the healing of God through others that pray for you.

May God bless you and give you all the peace and comfort He has to offer.

~Shelby from KY

Kenzie said...

Yvette-

Love you so much and thank you for walking this road with me as well. For being a tremendous encouragement, for being able to share all of those things that you mentioned. The Lord has TRULY provided for each of our families, for each of us mommies, by giving us each other to lean on for strength.

I am praying for you and all of the specifics of what is going on in your family!

Love you!
Kenzie

Rebecca said...

I'm still praying. Hugs to you...

Rebecca

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Yvette, I just read your post and you are precious. I love the way you specifically pointed out how much everyone meant to you. I need to write all that down too so I don't forget all those wonderful details.
I remember specifically the days you had with Tristan and how you were not getting sleep, how you were busy celebrating Christmas every day and having Disney at your house and nightly feedings and hard nights of panic and prayer and nights of taking every waking moment that Tristan had and memorizing every detail - how you still found ways to make it as normal for Tayden and Tanner as possible - and THEN how you STILL found time to pray for all of us, e-mail us personally, write on our blogs and encourage us daily - now that's a true friend...a true blessing. I am thankful for you too Dear Yvette. You are an amazing person.
I love you,
Kim

Anonymous said...

i've been thinking of you so much when pastor has been preaching through this 'shipwrecked' series...and i marvel at how the Lord is turning your storm into ministry. i know that you still struggle but i see your strength growing just through your blogs. and i know that strength only comes through HIM!! i don't even know you but have come to love you through your blog - your vulnerablity and honesty through your journey have been so moving and have allowed this sister in Christ the opportunity to pray specifically for you and your family because you were so specific when requesting prayer.
Yvette you keep doing what you are doing - God is growing you and you are allowing Him to use you to minister to others - many of whom you will know nothing about this side of glory. my prayers continue to be with you as you travel down this road.

Emily said...

I'm so thankful for you and I'm praying for you tonight.

Anonymous said...

Yvette,
Thank you for sharing so openly. I read about your blog originally on Beth Moore's blog site - someone knew you were at the recent LPL event. I pray that you were ministered to by angels who looked a lot like average people. You and your family will be in our prayers.
Peace,
Kim in Apex, NC

Karen said...

Yvette,
Praying for you today!

Laurie said...

Hi Yvette,

I am just stopping by today to send you some love and hugs. I pray for your days to become lighter and for your foundation to be blessed as you work on getting it open. God is going to bless it so much. You bless me.

Love, Laurie in Ca.